My dad always carried. Like, I never saw him without one of his 1911's on his hip unless he was in/around the house all day.
When I turned 18 I wanted a 629 S&W for deer hunting. My this time in my life I had fired just about every caliber handgun in that was made. My dad was quite the collector.
Anyway I got my NY State permit 6 months after I turned 18. I was fortunate because the judge back then who issued it was pro 2A and mine was "unrestricted".
I joined the army and only really carried when I was back home in NY. There was no reciprocity back then.
I spent many years at Ft. Bragg and got my NC permit in 1995 (I think).
Since then I have been carrying pretty much daily.
There really was no defining moment, but I had a close call against a crazy guy in a Wal-Mart parking lot. He was in hospital scrubs, dirty and screaming with a broken walking stick in his hand.
I had another incident where a guy got out of his car at a light and came to the drives side of my truck and tried to open the door. He got a nice view of my Wilson CQB compact....the business end. He was pissed because he was trying to force his way into traffic and I "cut him off". I called the police and gave them his plate number, but they never contacted me.
I'm glad the door was locked and he was unable to open the door before I was able to unholster. He would have likely been shot.
"We're moving in the right direction."
--attributed to two people: Barack Obama and George Armstrong Custer.